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memorial destroyed, veterans mourn
May 9, 2007 05:19 PM CDT
Reported by Online Reporter: Abby Dunn
KrisTV.com Corpus Christi, Texas
BEEVILLE - There was a somber sight in the city of Beeville Tuesday night, as a war memorial honoring veterans killed in four wars was completely destroyed.
That memorial once stood as five granite panels, with the names of 45 veterans who lost their lives, paying the ultimate sacrifice. But Tuesday, the memorial lies in pieces at the city's maintenance yard.
Local veterans said they're not sure when the memorial was vandalized. They say it looks like someone took their car and just rammed into it. The memorial was erected in 1989 and residents there said they're devastated by it's vandalism, because it's more than just rock - it's a symbol of freedom.
"This particular war memorial has World War I, World War II, Korean and Vietnam. And so it has quite a bit of names," Vietnam War veteran Ram Chavez said.
Now, veterans there are asking for help from anyone who can help raise the money to replace and repair that memorial.
The vandalism of the memorial has Beeville veterans saddened, and others are outraged. It even brought one veteran to tears.
Behind the broken tablets of granite, were the broken hearts of local veterans.
"That monument there, don't have the advantage of defending itself, like I do, or you do," Korean War veteran Magdaleno R. Velasco said.
Velasco, 88, served 26 years in the Army, he was wounded in the right foot during the Korean War.
"I can walk a little, but my fellow soldiers, they lose a leg or a hand and they're in wheelchairs," Velasco said.
Vietnam War veteran Ram Chavez of Corpus Christi said the memorial honored the lives of those who sacrificed greatly for their country.
"It has names of young men who just didn't get the opportunity to do anything," Chavez said. "Ride a motorcycle, be a teacher, coach...have children. They were 17, 18, 19, 20 year olds killed in action."
Chavez said that while those who died will never be replaced, he hopes their memorial will be.
"The damage, those memories are lost and that cannot happen," Chavez said. "If we forget the names, then we'll forget everyone that's made us free."
Police are not investigating incident at this point, saying there's no way to determine if memorial was vandalized. Or damaged by accident. Veterans said they hope local businesses will help raise the money to rebuild it.
The memorial cost $10,000 when it was built in 1989